Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Decemberists - The King Is Dead

  • Gatefold
  • Lyrics included

  • Album Rating: 4/5 (Great)
  • Audio Quality: 4.5/5 (Excellent)
  • Packaging: 4.5/5 (Excellent)

With the latest addition to The Decemberist's arsenal of music, singer/songwriter Colin Meloy and company chose to follow a very different path from their previous works. The King Is Dead is very normal compared to other albums by The Decemberists. It is normal in the sense that it follows a more typical style of album flow and songwriting, opting for individual songs that compliment each other excellently, but do not contribute to an overall theme. For The Decemberists, this a departure from previous works, especially from The King Is Dead's predecessor, The Hazards Of Love, which tells the long and thought-out love story between a woman and a shape shifting man-faun. But I digress, this is The King Is Dead, and although different, it is certainly one of their best albums to date.

It is evident from the first notes of "Don't Carry It All" that The King Is Dead takes on a different approach musically. A harmonica blasts from the speakers as Meloy belts out the first lines of the album, "Here we come to a turning of the season, witness to the arc towards the sun", another signal that this album is following its own path. Musically, the songs on this album take on the form of classic Americana tunes, while still maintaining its roots in the folk-tinged indie rock that The Decemberists have become known for.

While this album does draw inspiration from a country/Americana style, fear not, long-time Decemberists fans will still find comfort and a sweeping sense of nostalgia in the sea shanty-like track, "Rox In The Box", a song reminiscent of earlier works such as "A Cautionary Song" or "The Mariner's Revenge Song", although perhaps less ambitious.

The vinyl is nearly flawless, with very few pops or crackles. It is pressed on 180 gram black vinyl, comes in a beautiful gatefold jacket, and accompanying lyrics on the back of the inner sleeve. There is also a deluxe box set for $180 that comes with the following:
• Limited edition of 2500 available exclusively on
• A one-of-a-kind Polaroid photograph by Autumn de Wilde from the Impossible Project/Decemberists series
• 72 page hardcover book featuring over 250 unique Polaroid photographs by Autumn de Wilde and illustrations by Carson Ellis
• The King Is Dead CD
• Pendarvia DVD – a 30 minute short film by Aaron Rose, documenting the making of the album
• The King Is Dead on 180 gram white vinyl with special cover
• Limited edition GiclĂ©e print illustrated by Carson Ellis
Buy the standard edition of The King Is Dead on vinyl here (Amazon): The King Is Dead
You can find the deluxe box set here:


  1. Wait... what is this big CD? ;)

    Looks pretty sweet! Kinda wish I had some money to get a good vinyl player :)

  2. I've heard good things about the Decemberists, but I've never really given them much time. I'm gonna check them out

  3. Sweet songs keep up the posts

  4. Excellent stuff. Haven't heard of this band before.

  5. Wow, I need to start listening to them more often.

  6. nice pickup, love the decemberists.